Two months ago, the "Moderator Council" was introduced, with a simple charter:
a small group to escalate urgent or important issues or review our work before we make it public
Yesterday, this group was cited in the revised moderator reinstatement process:
[A previous moderator] can choose to escalate their request for Mod Council evaluation and is able to add additional material/arguments for further consideration.
While the recommendation of the Mod Council is not binding, their recommendation and reasoning will be considered very seriously by the CLT when coming to a final decision.
IOW, they get, uh, a collective bullet in a list of things to consider. But it's a bold bullet, near the top of the list.
Crucially, their role in this process isn't to review the work of the staff before it goes out. By the time the council is involved, that work has already been "published" twice - and the former moderator has had to make the decision to appeal twice instead of just saying, "sorry, constituents, they ain't gonna let me serve."
So while I'm trying to square this new role with the original charter, I come across this now-deleted answer proposing a role more in line with that charter:
Trust goes both ways. If you really trust the moderator council, consider letting the moderator council have the final say on reinstatement, if council members are willing to take on this responsibility (with perhaps the community leadership team stepping in in case the moderator council is deadlocked).
...and below it, a revealing comment from a member of the council:
I believe this was even proposed at one point but was shot down by several members of the council (not SE).
Well. So it would seem the first concrete action by the council was... To reject any actual responsibility? Surely that can't be right...
Another council member elaborated, slightly:
I've personally felt, and still do feel that the moderator council represents the moderator community, but we're not some sort of super-moderator. With at least the current iteration - its possible we don't see eye to eye on quite a few topics, but that's natural. I suspect should we get called to review a moderator reinstatement, you'll get an answer most of the council members reviewing can accept, even if its not their ideal.
This... Made no sense to me, so we discussed it for a bit and as the author wished for additional space to respond I composed this question.
My concern in brief: the council's charter was to represent the moderators and review the work of the company. That's exactly what is called for in a reinstatement process. Either the council is willing to take an active role in ensuring that moderators are treated fairly, or they've abdicated the responsibility that they were elected to shoulder.
So... Which is it?